2016 Hung Kings temple festival features Xoan singing hinh anh 1A Xoan singing performance (Source: VNA)

Phu Tho (VNA) – Numerous activities featuring traditional Xoan singing will be organised during the upcoming 2016 Hung Kings Temple festival, said Nguyen Dac Thuy, Deputy Director of the Phu Tho provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Performances of Xoan singing and other traditional folk songs will be taking place at the festival site and at the Hung Vuong Museum in Viet Tri city.

Documents and objects related to Xoan singing and the Hung Kings worship ritual will be showcased across museums in Viet Tri city and the Hung Kings Relic Complex.

Artists will perform ancient Xoan singing at the cultural tourism sites in the traditional Xoan singing villages of Kim Duc and Hung Ho in Viet Tri city.

Festival goers will also have a chance to enjoy Xoan singing during their visits to other spiritual tourism sites in the province, such as the temples dedicated to worshipping Lac Long Quan and Au Co, the parents of the nation’s legendary founder Hung Kings.

Xoan singing, one of the oldest forms of Vietnamese performing arts is believed to have been developed during the reign of the Hung Kings (2890 BC to 250 BC).

Traditionally, singers from Xoan guilds performed songs in sacred spaces, such as temples, shrines and communal houses during spring festivals.

There are three kinds of Xoan singing, including songs of worship for the Hung Kings and village guardian spirits; ritual songs for abundant crops, health and good luck; and festival songs with villagers alternating male and female verses in a form of courtship.

The singing is accompanied by dance and musical instruments, such as clappers and drums.

Xoan singing was listed by UNESCO among the world's Intangible Cultural Heritages in need of urgent protection in 2011.

According to Nguyen Ngoc An Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the locality has undertaken major efforts to revive the celebrated art form and to have it removed from the UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding.

As of 2015, dozens of young artisans have been trained to ensure the continuity of the art form. They in turn, have taught more than 100 children in the old Xoan guilds of Phu Duc, Kim Doi, Thet, An Thai, and Phuong Lau commune.

As many as 23 clubs have since been established across the province with 1,148 members and hundreds of others interested, a 20-fold increase compared with that in 2010.

Between 2012 and 2015, 51 individuals were honoured as Phu Tho Xoan Distinguished Artisans. The province is working on presenting the title to additional individuals this year.

Upgrades and maintenance have been conducted on many Xoan singing relic sites in Viet Tri City.

During the 10th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritages, which took place in Namibia late last year, the Committee agreed on compiling a dossier proposing Xoan singing be included in the organisation’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The dossier is expected to be considered by UNESCO in 2017.-VNA